Plomer, William, 1903-1973

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William Plomer was an English poet, novelist, short-story writer, librettist, and songwriter.

From the description of William Plomer collection of papers, 1921-1973. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122575712

From the guide to the William Plomer collection of papers, 1921-1973, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

William Plomer was born in South Africa and educated in England. After his education, he returned to South Africa and worked unsuccessfully as a farmer. He wrote his first novel, Turbott Wolfe, published in 1926, which caused much offence in South Africa because it dealt with interracial marriage. With Roy Campbell, he founded Voorslag in 1926, the first bilingual South African literary journal. He moved to England in 1929 and later worked as a publisher's reader and served in Naval Intelligence, 1940-1946. He wrote a few more novels, but was chiefly a poet. His Collected poems, 1960, won him a CBE and the Queen's Gold Medal for Literature. He wrote librettos for Benjamin Britten's Gloriana and his three church operas.

From the description of William Plomer letter to Dear Sir, 1956 Feb. 9. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 69936476

Epithet: author

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000560.0x000239

William Charles Franklyn Plomer was born in South Africa, and won youthful renown (and provoked local outrage) with the publication, by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press, of his first novel Turbott Wolfe (1926), which dealt with love and marriage between black and white. With Roy Campbell and Laurens van der Post he co-edited the controversial literary periodical Voorslag until Campbell quarrelled with its sponsors and resigned. Plomer, with Van der Post, then left South Africa for Japan, where he lived for over two years, teaching English and completing two collections of short stories, I speak of Africa and Paper houses, and two collections of poetry, Notes for poems and The family tree .

In 1929 he settled in England, where he was befriended by the Woolfs, who had continued to publish his work, and who brought out his next two novels, Sado (1931), set in Japan, and The case is altered (1932), and also a further volume of poems, The fivefold screen (1932). Through his contacts with the Woolfs and through his own gift for friendship, Plomer's literary acquaintance expanded rapidly, while he also maintained contact with South African writers and artists. For over forty years Plomer was at the centre of the English literary establishment. He was a prolific reviewer, and also became the influential chief reader for Jonathan Cape, who published his later work, including his selective edition (1938-1940) of the diaries of the Victorian clergyman Francis Kilvert, which established the hitherto unknown Kilvert as one of the greatest English diarists. After 1934, when Cape published his novel The Invaders, Plomer wrote relatively little fiction, although he continued to produce short stories and topical essays, sometimes during the war years under the pseudonym Robert Pagan. His poetic output, however, increased. His last novel, Museum pieces appeared in 1952, and his Collected poems in 1973. An important part of his post-war career was his collaboration with Benjamin Britten, as librettist for Gloriana (1953), and for the three church operas, Curlew river, The burning fiery furnace, and The prodigal son (1964-1968). From 1968 to 1972 he was president of the Poetry Society. Although not admitted in his published autobiographies, Double lives (1943) and At home (1958), Plomer's homosexuality was central to his life and work.

From the guide to the Plomer Collection, 1870-1973 (predominantly post-1920), (Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986. Christopher Isherwood correspondence with John Lehmann, 1931-1973. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Norman Hidden Collection, 1934-2010 Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
creatorOf Plomer, William, 1903-1973. William Plomer letter to Dear Sir, 1956 Feb. 9. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. The Buring Fiery Furance / music by Benjamin Britten ; libertto by William Plomer - musical score. University of Guelph
referencedIn Stephen Spender collection of papers, 1928]-1993, 1931-1967 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. II (ff. 204). Correspondence and papers; 1966. 1. ff. 1-106. Labour voters' protest on Vietnam; April 1966. 2. ff. 107-204. Protest meeting at Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre; July 1966.includes:ff. 2, 198 Sir Alfred Jules ..., 1966 British Library
creatorOf William Plomer collection of papers, 1921-1973 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Strachey/Holroyd Papers. Vol. xviii (ff.134). Loose leaves containing various transcriptions of letters, notes on sources and transcriptions of Lytton Strachey’s poems ‘The Haschish’, ‘The two triumphs’, ‘Happiness’, and ‘Ely: an ode’, the radio scr..., 1952-1972 British Library
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. The Burning Fiery Furnace / music by Benjamin Britten ; text by William Polmer ; music directed by Nicholas Goldschmidt ; stage directed by Jean Marc Landier ; designed by William Lord, May 12, 13, 14, 1971 - house program. University of Guelph
referencedIn William Sansom collection of papers, 1926-1972 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Andrew Young collection of papers, 1922-[1970 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Lewin, George L. George L. Lewin correspondence, 1890-1970. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Virginia Woolf Collection TXRC99-A14., 1922-1956 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. I (ff. 163). Correspondence and papers; 1962-1965. 1. ff. 1-17. Nuclear disarmament; 1962-1964. 2. ff. 18-82v. British writers' protest on Vietnam; 1965. 3. ff. 83-163. West European artists' protest on Vietnam; 1965.in..., 1962-1965 British Library
creatorOf Gawsworth, John, 1912-1970. Gawsworth (Armstrong)/Shiel/Redonda papers, 1928-1971. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Britten Manuscripts: Musical compositions of Benjamin Britten, 1925-1979 British Library: Music Collections
creatorOf Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. Gloriana [microform] : op. 53 :opera in three acts / Benjamin Britten. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf A. W. RUSSELL AND RUTH PITTER CORRESPONDENCE. Vol. III (ff. 183). Correspondence of A. W. Russell; 1967-1969, n.d. The names of the writers and recipients are given in the index to the present catalogue.includes:ff. 1-11 John Leslie Thomas Arlott, wr..., 1967-1969 British Library
creatorOf Vol. xxviii (ff. 260). Mc-P.includes:ff. 1-11 Michael Meadmore: Letters to M. Holroyd enclosing copies of his letters to the press on G. L. Strachey and related matters: [1997]: Partly photocopies.f. 12 Hugh Owen Meredith, Professor of Economics... British Library
creatorOf Young, Andrew, 1885-1971. Andrew Young collection of papers, 1922-[1970]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn English literature mss., 1951-1993 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Letters from Roy Campbell to William Plomer, 1925-1930 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Department of Special Collections
creatorOf Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. The burning fiery furnace [microform] : second parable for church performance / [music by] Benjamin Britten, libretto by William Plomer. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Monro, Alida Klemantaski. Correspondence of Alida Klemantaski Monro, 1933. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Plomer Collection, 1870-1973 (predominantly post-1920) Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Dan Jacobson Papers TXRC93-A3., 1941-92 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Woolmer, J. Howard. J. Howard Woolmer Poetry bookshop collection, 1961-1967. The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. The Prodigal son : third parable for church performance, op. 81 / by Benjamin Britten ; libretto by William Plomer ; Nicholas Goldschmidt, music director ; Robert Carsen, stage director, 1985 - performance file. University of Guelph
creatorOf Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. Full score, Gloriana [microform] / Benjamin Britten. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Elizabeth Bowen Collection TXRC98-A19., 1923-1975 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Blunden, Edmund, 1896-1974. Papers, 1922-1986. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf WILLIAM PLOMER: poems, 'The Last Train' and 'The Shortest Day'; circa 1963-1965. Autograph drafts. These poems were collected in Taste and Remember (1966). For a detailed description see Stratford, Mod. Lit. MSS., no. 25. Purchased from the Arts Coun..., approximately 1963-1965 British Library
referencedIn British authors collection, 1840-1953. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Hanley, James, 1901-. Papers, 1930-1969. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. VI (ff. 168+160*). General correspondence; 1939-1987, n.d.includes:f. 1 Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cecil of Chelwood: Letter to Margaret Gardiner from Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil: 1939: Si..., 1939-1987 British Library
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Correspondence (arranged by correspondent), c1909 to 2004 St John's College, Oxford
creatorOf HUMPHREY SEARLE COLLECTION. Vol. cxix. 1929-1956.ff. 265.includes:ff. 1, 54-58 Lady Mathilde Schlich, née Marsily; second wife of Sir William Schlich; grandmother of Humphrey Searle: Letters to Humphrey Searle: [1929?], 1937. f. 2 Humphrey Searle, C..., 1929-1956 British Library
creatorOf Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. The prodigal son [microform] / /Benjamin Britten. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Russell, John, 1919-. John Russell papers, ca. 1941-2004. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Wilson, Angus. Letter to [Charles] Erdman. Bury St. Edmunds, Eng. 19731 Oct. 21. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Doyle, John Robert. John Robert Doyle papers, 1933-1986. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn E. M. Forster collection of papers, 1904-1969 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. Curlew River : a parable for church performance / by William Plomer ; set to music by Benjamin Britten, op. 71 ; musical direction by Nicholas Goldschmidt ; stage direction by William Glassco, 1983 - performance file. University of Guelph
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Elizabeth Bowen Collection, 1923-1975. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Woolmer, J. Howard,. The Poetry Bookshop Collecton, 1961-1967. The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library
creatorOf Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. Curlew river [microform] : op. 71 / B[enjamin] B[ritten]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Parker, Derek. Collection, 1955-1970. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Askwith, Betty, 1909-1995. Betty Askwith collection, 1916-1981. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn Letters to John Guest, c. 1949-1991 Reading University : Special Collections Services
referencedIn Papers relating to the work of Isaac Rosenberg, 1890-1918, 1922-1966, 1982 University of Bristol Special Collections
referencedIn Derek Parker Collection TXRC96-A45., 1955-1970 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Bowlby, Timothy J. Africa we knew, the : (1994) : song cycle/suite/serenade in ten movements ... / on texts by Claude MacKay & William Plomer ; with music composed by Timothy J. Bowlby. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Manuscript Albums, 1615 - 1959 Newcastle University: Special Collections
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. Curlew River / music by Benjamin Britten ; libertto by William Plomer - vocal score. University of Guelph
creatorOf Plomer, William, 1903-1973. An alphabet of literary prejudice : autograph manuscript, [1946]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Plomer, William, 1903-1973. William Plomer collection of papers, 1921-1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. Virginia Woolf Collection, 1922-1956. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995. Stephen Spender collection of papers, [1931]-1993 bulk ([1931]-1967). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986. Papers of Christopher Isherwood, 1864-1997, (bulk 1925-1985). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-. Christopher Isherwood correspondence with John Lehmann, 1931-1973. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Works by other persons or unidentified authors. Includes: short essay on education by George Chester Earle, ‘Adventures with words’ by George Chester Earle; ‘My autograph book’, by Georgina Henschel; ‘The dead donkey’, a poem by ‘Pegeen Mair’; leaves..., 1908-approximately 1965 British Library
creatorOf Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970. E. M. Forster collection of papers, 1904-1969. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Jacobson, Dan. Papers, 1941-1994. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf JACQUES BRUNIUS: correspondence of Jacques B. Brunius (d. 1967) and others, with various authors, the literary agency of John Farquharson Ltd., the Hogarth Press and the Pilot Press; 1944-1946. Partly French. Relating to proposals by Editions de la R..., 1944-1946 British Library
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. The Prodigal Son / music by Benjamin Britten ; libertto by William Plomer - musical score. University of Guelph
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ackerley, J. R. (Joe Randolph), 1896-1967 person
associatedWith Ackroyd, Graham. person
correspondedWith Askwith, Betty, 1909-1995. person
associatedWith Betjeman, John, 1906-1984 person
associatedWith Blunden, Edmund, 1896-1974. person
associatedWith Blunden, Edmund, 1896-1984 person
associatedWith Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973 person
associatedWith Bowes Lyon, Lilian, 1895-1949 person
associatedWith Bowlby, Timothy J. person
associatedWith Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. person
associatedWith Campbell, Roy, 1901-1957 person
associatedWith Doyle, John Robert. person
associatedWith Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970. person
associatedWith Gawsworth, John, 1912-1970. person
associatedWith Gordimer, Nadine, b. 1923 person
associatedWith Graves, Robert Windham, 1858-1934 person
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guest, John person
associatedWith Hanley, James, 1901- person
associatedWith Hill, Susan, 1942- person
associatedWith Holst, Imogen, 1907-1984. person
associatedWith Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986. person
associatedWith Jacobson, Dan person
associatedWith Jacobson, Dan. person
associatedWith Jonker, Ingrid, 1933-1965 person
associatedWith Kilvert, Francis, 1840-1879 person
associatedWith Lewin, George L. person
associatedWith Lohf, Kenneth A., person
associatedWith Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 person
associatedWith Monro, Alida Klemantaski. person
associatedWith Norman Hidden, 1913-2006 person
associatedWith Nowell-Smith, Simon, 1909- person
associatedWith Parker, Derek, 1932- person
associatedWith Russell, John, 1919- person
associatedWith Sansom, William, 1912- person
associatedWith Schreiner, Olive, 1855-1920 person
associatedWith Sitwell, Edith, 1887-1964 person
associatedWith Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969 person
associatedWith Sparrow, John, 1906-1992 person
associatedWith Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995. person
associatedWith These materials were created by Gordon Bottomley and Denys Harding person
associatedWith Van der Post, Laurens, 1906-1996 person
associatedWith Wilson, Angus. person
associatedWith Woolf, Leonard, 1880-1969. person
associatedWith Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 person
associatedWith Woolmer, J. Howard, person
associatedWith Young, Andrew, 1885-1971. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Japan
Subject
Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
South African literature (English)
English literature--20th century
Occupation
Editors
Activity

Person

Birth 1903-12-10

Death 1973-12-21

South Africans

English

Information

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Ark ID: w60c5f1b

SNAC ID: 15867794